Being the Church: Night in Bethlehem 2022

When we think about the Christmas Story, we recall the tale of a young couple traveling on their own in need of hospitality. A warm place to stay and a smiling face who would welcome them, despite their marital circumstances and the impending birth of a baby.

The retelling of this story often focuses on the logistics of needing a place to stay: “No room at the Inn!” But don’t you imagine feeling welcome and cared for was also important to them? Alone, and “great with child,” Mary must have craved connection with a seasoned mother. As a protective provider, wouldn’t Joseph have appreciated another man’s hands to help create a make-shift place to stay in the stable?

Being the Church is about trying to meet the needs of another, including those needs that aren’t the most obvious but can make a huge impact. This month Andrew Chapel hosted friends and neighbors from our community for a Night in Bethlehem. While our visitors weren’t looking for a warm place to stay, perhaps they were looking for connection.

Maybe we provided an opportunity for them to connect with their family away from the distraction of technology and an endless to do list at home. Perhaps we gave some small children the opportunity to connect with the natural world through a first-hand experience with one of our visiting animals. After being disconnected from neighbors and community for the past two years, this may have been a much-needed time to meet and interact with other people.

At Andrew Chapel UMC we recognize that there are many ways people need to feel connected, and if we’ve helped make just one person feel less alone then we are Being the Church.